Review: Pro Putt by Top Golf
Golf has really mixed representation when it comes to virtual reality (VR) gaming. Look on Steam for example and you’ll find plenty of examples, some of which are reasonable while others aren’t worth the club fees. It’s even worse when it comes to native Oculus Quest support, with Cloudlands 2 the only one on offer. That was until Pro Putt by Top Golf arrived, plugging this niche market with some luscious greens, multiple gameplay modes and most importantly, mechanics that actually work well.
As the name suggests, Pro Putt by Top Golf isn’t a full on golfing simulator. There are no clubs to choose or steep learning curves to drive balls hundreds of yards down fairways. It’s putting pure and simple, equally tense and relaxing depending on how serious you take it and heavy handed you are.
At first glance, Pro Putt by Top Golf seems a little underwhelming. The graphics are nice but somewhat basic – without the style low-poly videogames like The Morrigan have – and there are only three locations to choose from. However, after spending time with it you’ll discover an addictively fun gem of a golf game.
Those three areas – the Beach, Desert and Forest – contain 9 holes apiece, with some of the beach courses rife for holes-in-one whilst the forest courses are far more elaborate affairs, navigating cliffs and rivers with a putter. All these courses form the core of Pro Putt by Top Golf’s campaign, having to complete them on the basic mode before unlocking the pro mode. The latter doesn’t alter the courses in any way, it just removes the putting aids for a true skill test.
While the courses in Pro Putt by Top Golf offer enough variety to keep you entertained, it’s the ball physics and putting mechanics that truly make the title a worthy purchase; even if you’re not a golf fan. You only need one controller – lefties are catered for – and at the start of every course you can select where you drop the ball within your roomscale boundaries. Putting may not require big swings but having the option to readjust is a neat feature that can’t be underestimated.
This attention to detail continues through to the putting action, feeling smooth and accurate even without the weight of an actual putter. Casually hitting the ball by holding the controller with one hand just won’t cut it – unless you’re weirdly gifted. Both hands need to be on the controller to control the power and direction, especially when going for those birdie shots to gain a maximum three stars for the course.
As you’d expect, all the courses feature rolling topography to increase the challenge, easily highlighted by holding the grip button. As mentioned previously about the basic and pro modes, the former will show you the best direction to hit the ball. A path in yellow will appear when a direct putt can be made, otherwise, it’ll be blue. Naturally, the pro mode removes these little handy hints which are super useful when learning the courses yet they don’t always offer the optimum path to get a hole-in-one.
You’ll want to get the campaign out the way first to unlock all those courses. After that, it’s time to play with all the other modes of which there’s an impressive selection. Up to this point, it has been all solo gameplay which is fine to begin with yet multiplayer offers that competitive edge for real replay factor. There are options to join a match, create a private one or go against a bot (still fun) if no one’s available. It is strange playing against just a cap though as there’s no body whatsoever, just a cap and putter. As most modern VR titles are trying to make their avatars customisable and less robotic, making social interactions more natural, the absence of a face is kind of creepy.
Pro Putt by Top Golf doesn’t stop there either. After a day on the fairway why not head to the Topgolf Putt Lounge for a selection of golfing mini-games. These are all about scoring as many points as possible across a range of different variables, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. Which is what everyone wants from a new videogame, plenty of content and value for money, which Pro Putt by Top Golf certainly has.
At the moment Pro Putt by Top Golf is the best golfing title for Oculus Quest. It’s easy to pick up and play, intuitive for players of any skill level and there’s no real glitchy mechanics that VRFocus could find. It doesn’t have the depth hardcore golfing fans may want but does it really need to? For those after a sporting VR experience that’s not too energetic, Pro Putt by Top Golf is a good shout.